September 2003 News

Parray's killing leaves counter-insurgents demoralised

28 September 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Instrumental in turning the tide of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in mid-1990s, surrendered ultras in the state are a 'demoralised' force today, with many of them going underground fearing elimination at the hands of ISI-backed Jehadi outfits after slaying of top counter- insurgent leader Kuka Parray early this month. The counter- insurgents, whose remaining commander Liaqat Ali alias Hilal Hyder also tops the target list of Jehadi outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashker-e-Toiba, are sore at the alleged 'apathy' of the Central Government. 'Targeting of leaders like Kuka Parray and Javed Shah reflects failure of the Government to provide them adequate security to protect them,' Liaqat Ali, who heads J&K Ikhwan counter-insurgent group said. 'Unless the Government takes immediate remedial measures, a message will go down the line that India is unable to protect pro- peace and nationalist people having witnessed the fate of Parrey and Shah,' he said. Parray, who headed Ikhwan-ul Muslimeen militant outfit till 1994, turned hostile to Islamabad and along with about a thousand other surrendered militants started targetting pro-Pakistan ultras. Subsequently, the ranks of the counter-insurgents swelled reaching the highest level of about 3,500 men and they played a key role in ensuring conduct of Parliamentary and assembly polls in the State in 1996, seven years after militancy erupted there. 'In comparison, not more than 300 surrendered militants are engaged in fighting Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the State today,' Ali said, adding while many had been killed, several others had rejoined militants and a few left the state. He said Pakistan, by targeting counter-insurgent leaders, wants to 'send out a signal so as to discourage and deter any separatist leader from joining the mainstream'. 'After Parray's killing many counter-insurgents have started thinking of fleeing from the State to save themselves and their families,' said another Ikhwan leader who left his home in Kashmir immediately after Parrey's killing near his house in Hajan on September 13. He charged that both the Central and the State Governments had done 'nothing to protect and encourage' counter- insurgents who worked hard to bring about normalcy 'when no politician dared to venture into the Valley'. 'Because of our effort, militancy in the State had almost been wiped out by 1998,' he asserted and added that militants were regrouping again and the coming times would be critical. The counter-insurgent leader said hundreds of youth were going missing in the Valley and were 'obviously joining militant ranks'. 'The Government needs to give a serious thought to the situation before it goes completely out of control,' he cautioned pointing to the recent developments in the State. He alleged that even after killing of Parrey and Javed Shah in daring strikes security had not been beefed up for the rest of the leaders. 'Government should demonstrate it is strong enough to save those who work for peace,' he said. The counter-insurgents fought along with army and para-military forces against Pakistan-sponsored militancy after surrendering in large groups between 1994 and 1996. The Government had in the past contemplated absorbing them in police and other forces but the plan never took off. After Parrey and Shah were killed, Government announced a decision to raise a battalion of Territorial Army comprising the surrendered militants. (PTI)


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